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Trenton Doyle Hancock: Skin and Bones, 20 Years of Drawing

LH: Skin and Bones was organized by Valerie Cassel Oliver for the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and then traveled to the Akron Art Museum. The Studio Museum will be the exhibition’s third venue. How has it been to see different iterations of the show? TDH: Because each space is different, the shows end up being radically different from one another. Each new venue provides an opportunity to highlight different aspects of the show by responding to architecture and other particularities of the space.

LH: Who are some artists who inspire you?

LH: You were raised in Texas. Has Texas played a role in your work?

TDH: James Ensor and Otto Dix are a couple of my favorite painters. Philip Guston is great too, but Ensor and Dix have sharper edges. Terry Winters is always unstoppable. Hilma af Klint painted some of the most “ahead of its time” work to ever be made. In terms of animation, Richard Williams and Ralph Bakshi are gods. The toy designers that excite me are Lou Marx and Marvin Glass. Marx and Glass were considered the Walt Disneys of toy design in the 1950s and 60s.

TDH: Yes, I’ve spent most of my life in Texas. There is a lot to celebrate and explore there, but also there’s plenty of negativity and strangeness to react against. There is a lot of space as well. The sprawl has helped shape my attitude and allowed me the space to nurture not only my collecting habits but also my anger. I would imagine that’s why someone like Erykah Badu maintains connections with Texas.

LH: It’s obvious that text and language play a huge part in your artistic practice. What are some things you read for inspiration and enjoyment? TDH: I have a daily routine of reading various articles that pop up on my browser or things recommended to me by my peers. It’s my version of reading the newspaper, and it keeps me somewhat plugged in. When I enter a new phase of my work, I usually read a ton about new subjects. This year I started producing toys based on my characters, so I’m reading a lot about toy developers, the history of toys and how to make my own toys. Last year, it was animation and animation history. Being a notoriously slow reader, I don’t have the attention span to get through most novels. I always feel like I can perform a million other useful tasks in the time it would take me to finish a book. I should try books on tape, I guess.

Trenton Doyle Hancock Mom Said to Share, 1998 Courtesy the artist, James Cohan Gallery, New York and Hales Gallery, London Photo: Paul Hester

Profile for The Studio Museum in Harlem

Studio magazine (Winter/Spring 2015)  

Studio is the Studio Museum in Harlem's magazine, published twice a year and distributed free of charge to museum members and visitors. In a...

Studio magazine (Winter/Spring 2015)  

Studio is the Studio Museum in Harlem's magazine, published twice a year and distributed free of charge to museum members and visitors. In a...